As the topic of movie runtimes has come up again recently amongst cinephiles thanks to the success of “Oppenheimer” and more recently “Killers of the Flower Moon,” another famed filmmaker has weighed in.

“Sideways” and “About Schmidt” director Alexander Payne agrees with the sentiment that some films these days are “too damn long” whilst speaking at the Middleburg Film Festival on Saturday (via Indiewire) to promote his new work “The Holdovers”.

Whilst he doesn’t specify any particular film being the problem, that the comments came during the opening weekend of a three-and-a-half hour Scorsese epic has drawn understandable parallels.

That film has drawn universal raves, though one of the few criticisms has been about its length. Payne doesn’t have an issue with long runtimes as a concept, his complaint is more one of narrative economy:

“You want your movie to be as short as possible. There are too many damn long movies these days. If your movie is three-and-a-half hours, at least let it be the shortest possible version of a three-and-a-half-hour movie.

Like The Godfather Part II [and] Seven Samurai are super tight, three-and-a-half-hour movies and they go by like that. So there’s no ipso facto judgment about length.

Film is a constant search for economy. You want the screenplay as short as possible. You want the acting as brisk as possible, given whatever the basic rhythm of that film is. And then in the editing you want it to be as short as it can possibly be, but no shorter.”

The director admits looking back he can see his own films could use a little trim too, but he has one exception – his 1999 satire “Election”.

Payne’s 124-minute long “The Holdovers” opens in cinemas this Friday October 27th.

The post Payne: Today’s Films Are “Too Damn Long” appeared first on Dark Horizons.

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